Team  SoOLEGAL

MAINTAINABILITY OF ANY PROVISION TO BE DECIDED BY THE JUDICIARY AND NOT BY THE REGISTRY: Supreme Court

Team SoOLEGAL 8 Apr 2019 10:27am

MAINTAINABILITY OF ANY PROVISION TO BE DECIDED BY THE JUDICIARY AND NOT BY THE REGISTRY: Supreme Court

Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice NV Ramana and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar considered SLP in P. Surendran vs. State. The SLP challenged Madras High Court Registry which refused many Anticipatory bail applications and dismissed the matters stating the ground of maintainability of Section 18A of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The bench was to determine the validity of such action of the Registry. Also whether consequent dismissal of the same on the issue of maintainability of the petition impinges on the judicial function of the High Court? 

It was observed by the Court that the act of Registry numbering a petition is purely administrative. It held:

"The objections taken by the Madras High Court Registry on the aspect of maintainability requires judicial application of mind by utilizing appropriate judicial standard. Moreover, the wordings of Section 18A of the SC/ST Act itself indicate at application of judicial mind. In this context, we accept the statement of the Attorney General that the determination in this case is a judicial function and the High Court Registry could not have rejected the numbering. . Therefore, we hold that the High Court Registry could not have exercised such judicial power to answer the maintainability of the petition, when the same was in the realm of the Court. As the power of judicial function cannot be delegated to the Registry, we cannot sustain the order, rejecting the numbering/registration of the Petition, by the Madras High Court Registry."
Attorney General was also called for giving his views on the matter. He submitted that for Section 18A of the stated Act, appropriate bench has to adjudicate the matter as the same is a judicial function. The Registry should not have refused numbering the bail petitions solely on the ground of maintainability. The court observed:

"The nature of judicial function is well settled under our legal system. Judicial function is the duty to act judicially, which invests with that character. The distinguishing factor which separates administrative and judicial function is the duty and authority to act judicially. Judicial function may thus be defined as the process of considering the proposal, opposition and then arriving at a decision upon the same on consideration of facts and circumstances according to the rules of reason and justice."
Supreme Court thus held that the High Court Registry is not empowered to decide on the maintainability of the petitions. Such decision should be solely taken by the judiciary as it involves judicial application of mind. The Registry was ordered to number the petition.

Tagged: Kerala High Court   Supreme Court   Registry   Maintainability  
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